FAITH COUNTS: Green conversion – so simple but so difficult!

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Pope Francis said on Earth Day: “When this destruction of nature is triggered, it is very difficult to stop it. But we are still in time. And we’ll be more resilient if we work together instead of doing it alone. “

2021 marks the celebration of 50 years of Earth Day and six years since the publication of the second encyclical letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si ‘: Taking care of our common home May 24. Encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si ‘ or “Praise be to you” is an urgent call to tackle the current ecological crisis by effecting a paradigm shift that will allow all human beings to live sustainably in dignity. To celebrate the end of the Laudato Si ‘ A special anniversary year, Pope Francis invites the 1.3 billion Catholics of the world to participate with joy in Laudato Si ‘Week 2021, May 16-24 and to celebrate the great progress that the whole Church has made in its journey towards ecological conversion. The theme of the weeklong celebration is: “For we know that things can change” (Laudato Si ’13).

Laudato Si echoes Saint Francis of Assisi Song of the Sun in his praise of God’s creation. In the hymn, Saint Francis thanks God for creations such as “Brother Vent”, “Sister Water” and “Mother Earth”. The hymn is an affirmation of his personal theology, for it often referred to animals as our brothers and sisters; and rejecting the accumulation of material. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. With unparalleled clarity, he perceived the fundamental unity of all creation and his own place among God’s creatures, being one with them without dominating over them.

This year’s Earth Day message, “Restore our Earth” and Pope Francis’ encyclical “Caring for our Common Home” give us reason to consider the harm we have collectively caused to our “sister” and to our “mother” the Earth. Both explain why we must all work to take care of and restore the Earth; not only because we care about the natural world, but because we live there, because it is our home. Both urge us to protect the Earth and our local communities for all, especially the poor and vulnerable who are largely powerless to effect real change.

No matter how you might feel about it, indifferent, out of date, or somewhere in between, it should be noted: there is a big difference between considering, thinking, and talking about something and actually doing it. Dreams are obviously important. Aspirations, ideas and hope for the future are part of what gives our lives purpose and keeps us going. Above all, we need hope at a time like this. If we don’t have the hope and a positive mindset that we’ll end up in a different and better place than we are, right now, then we might as well get carried away and succumb to the inevitable. While I certainly can’t speak for everyone, I guess if you’re still reading this, you’re not someone who wants to do this. Me neither.

So how do we make our dreams and hopes come true? It is paradoxically quite simple and really difficult. We stop dreaming, create a plan and take action. We set realistic goals and action steps that help us move forward, little by little, until we get to where we want to be. It’s simple, but it is not without work and without sacrifice.

Nicholas Stern, President of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and author of the Influence on Climate Change report The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, declared that: “The publication of the Pope’s encyclical is of enormous importance. He showed great wisdom and great leadership. Pope Francis is certainly absolutely right that climate change raises vital moral and ethical questions. The Pope is especially important because of the failure of many heads of state and government around the world to show political leadership. “

Laudato Si comes at a critical moment in human history. With scientific and technological advancements entering the market at an ever faster rate, there are increasing costs to the planet’s resources and vital ecosystems, as well as new social and moral dilemmas that call for more than the truth of. the Gospel. never.

To combat the problem, Pope Francis explains how science and religion must work together, with scientists, “using their divine talents in the service of others” (Laudato Si’131). However, he clarifies this, stating that science and technology should serve humanity for its improvement, and not the other way around. “Science and technology are made for man and for the world, not man and the world for science and technology. They are at the service of a dignified and healthy life for all, now and in the future, and make our common home more livable and more favorable, more careful and guarded ”(Laudato Si ‘200).

In Laudato Si, Pope Francis explains that while science will be crucial in proposing ideas and strategies, it alone cannot provide a comprehensive response to our common social and ecological problems. Indeed, science will be unable to motivate people to undertake the lifestyle changes that will be required of us to live in harmony with creation: “Any technical solution that science claims to offer will be powerless to solve the serious problems of our world. if humanity loses its compass, if we lose sight of the great motivations that allow us to live in harmony, to make sacrifices and to treat others well ”(Laudato Si’200). In other words, if science can find a solution to our current social and ecological ills, it will not only be able to mobilize the common will. Collective change is needed to make this solution a reality.

During this special anniversary year of Laudato Si ‘ The Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development will launch a new program and a public commitment for various institutions to begin a 7 year journey towards total sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si ‘. The Laudato Si ‘Platform for Action will create space for the Universal Church to learn and grow together as we take “decisive action, here and now” to care for each other and the home we share .

You can find more information about Laudato Si Week at laudatosiweek.org.

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